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The 2024 Cision and PRWeek Global Comms Report

Find out how 400+ PR and comms leaders worldwide are approaching the way they work in today’s media landscape.

How to Make Your Press Release Less Spooky

Haunted mansion at night

It’s the season for bubbling cauldrons, carved pumpkins and a chilling fog. But the spooks and scares should be limited to haunted houses and costume parties; not your marketing efforts. There are a few common mistakes that can easily scare off a reader and destroy engagement with your press release. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix these issues once you know what you’re looking for.

This Halloween is the perfect time to ask yourself if your press release might be scaring off potential readers and start making adjustments. Here are a few tricks to turn your spooky, intimidating press release into a real “treat” for the reader!

Scary Mistake #1: Burying the Lead

People read press releases for information, and having that information available front-and-center helps to connect the news with the right reader. If your release starts in the wrong place or takes too long to get to the point, a reader might decide at a glance that it’s not relevant and toss it aside without reading on to discover it was exactly what they were looking for.

Like many other types of journalism, press releases utilize an “inverted pyramid” style of organization. This front-loads the most vital information at the beginning of the release, then narrows it down to more specific finer points later on the page. In practice, this means that your headline should be clear and informative, and your first paragraph should include the answers to the “who, what, when, where” questions.

Scary Mistake #2: Offering a Wall of Text

Nothing scares away a potential reader like a huge, intimidating block of words. Long paragraphs are especially difficult to read online, and anyone glancing at a big block of text may conclude that sticking around to read it will take too much energy.

When writing for the web, you’ll want to think in terms of white space. Short paragraphs with line breaks between them will be easier to read. You can make your release even more accessible by adding section headers and bulleted lists to guide the reader’s eye. Breaking up the page with visual elements like photos and pull-quotes will help a lot with holding a viewer’s attention as well.

Scary Mistake #3: Targeting the Wrong Audience

Members of the media receive a deluge of media alerts every day, and anything that seems irrelevant or poorly targeted will swiftly be tossed in a junk folder. If you’re trying to get noticed by a big media outlet, it’s important that you know your audience. Sending to the wrong email address, targeting the wrong distribution network, or pitching the wrong sort of story can all start you on the wrong foot.

This is one place where working with a news release distribution company is so helpful. Instead of trying to guess at who to send news to or how to best package it for your recipient, you can work with a pro who will help you polish your news and send it out to an audience who will be receptive – and enthusiastic! – about receiving it.

By putting these tips into use, you can “scare up” some fresh attention for your marketing efforts.